Lessons About Men and Women
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On Day 3 of Bob Lepine’s farewell week, he shares with Dave and Ann Wilson about great FamilyLife speakers who have talked about the differences between men and women.
Lessons About Men and Women
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us, Wednesday,
May 26th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I’m Bob Lepine. You can find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. We haven’t talked about this much; but back at the turn of the year, you guys went through a transition.
Dave: Yes, we did.
Bob: After 30-plus years of being a pastor/founding pastor at a local church, you stepped away, handed it off to the next generation, and said, “It’s in your hands,”—right?—it’s in the Lord’s hands, but—“It’s in yours to take it from here.”
Dave: Yes; I mean, obviously, it was a big moment for us to make that decision and hand it off. It was like throwing a pass—hopefully, for a touchdown to the next leadership—and stepping into full time and the future with FamilyLife®.
Bob: We’ve not made a big deal about this either; but for the last 13 years, I have been dividing my time between what happens here at FamilyLife—this has been my full-time focus, and responsibility, and my job—but in my spare time, I have been helping to plant, and launch, and lead a local church. We helped plant this church back in 2008; I’ve been the main teaching pastor at this church since that time.
As we’ve shared with our listeners this week, this is a transition week for me.
Bob: You guys will be in the driver’s seat, fully engaged. You won’t have to wrestle me for the steering wheel anymore, going forward. [Laughter]
Ann: We’re not petrified at all.
Dave: Not at all.
Bob: You guys are going to do amazing! You really are. I’ve loved watching and hearing how listeners are just connecting with you. The key is that the mission of FamilyLife hasn’t changed at all.
Bob: It’s still the same mission: it’s still practical biblical help and hope for marriages and families. It’s still effectively developing godly marriages and families one home at a time.
All of us are replaceable parts in that mission. Now is just the time to be more actively involved in the work that our church is doing, to help strengthen it and get it ready for next-generation leadership. Anytime anybody’s in Little Rock, you’re welcome to come visit Redeemer Community Church, or check us out online on a Sunday if you don’t have anything else going on.
We are spending time this week looking back at—I’ve called this: “28 Lessons I’ve learned in More than 28 years of Co-hosting FamilyLife Today”—this started back in 1992.
Dave: So it’s really been 28 years.
Ann: I’m just going to say, “I’m crying.” [Laughter] This is what happens when you have a girl in the studio.
Dave: She really is crying.
Ann: I am crying. It’s like/it is bittersweet.
Bob: Yes; it is for all of us.
We’re going to focus today on lessons that I’ve learned. All of these are things that—just sitting in this chair with hundreds of guests over the years, sharing insights about marriage and family—I mean, every day I’m walking out, going: “Huh; that was good. I need to remember that,” “I need to apply that.” But some of these things just jump out at you like those kind of big defining moments.
Ann: I bet.
Bob: One of them—we don’t have a clip to play for this—because I think this was not something somebody said but, really, something I began to learn. The more we started talking about the differences between men and women, which are real—and when you talk about gender differences/my son likes to call them “genderalities”—there are some things that are not universally true but they are, for the most part, true—“Men are like this mostly,” “Women are like this mostly.” That’s by God’s design, and it’s His good design.
Bob: One of the things Mary Ann and I learned, early on, in our marriage—and FamilyLife played a role in this—is that those differences between us: gender differences, personality differences, different perspectives—those differences aren’t necessarily wrong; sometimes, it’s just different. Earlier, we thought, “If you think differently than me, you think wrong.”
Ann: Right; we’re trying to change each other.
Bob: “Well, if I thought your way was the right way, we’d do it your way. [Laughter] But I think it’s this way.” I had to recognize Mary Ann’s perspective broadens my understanding of whatever issue we’re looking at. Sometimes, she will bring a perspective that I just never stopped to think about.
Now, Mary Ann is quick—if she was here, she would say, “I know you like to say that different isn’t always wrong; sometimes, it’s just different,”—she says, “Sometimes it’s wrong.” [Laughter] She will say, “Sometimes, let’s just acknowledge, your way of looking at it is the wrong way.” [Laughter]
She’s right—there’s a right and a wrong [sometimes]—I’m not trying to say this is all relative. But her perspective as a mom, when it comes to our kids, she has different wisdom, and insight, and intuition than I had as a dad. Her perspective as somebody, who is more nurturing, is different than my perspective. We’ve both learned from those differences. Today, we would say we are grateful for what we used to be irritated by.
Bob: I think, if couples can come to the point and say, “Okay, you look at this differently; that’s a plus, not a minus. That’s not just annoying; no, this is something that we can benefit from if we can learn to value the difference rather than be annoyed by the difference.”
Dave: Yes, and I know that one of the things we teach at the Weekend to Remember® is your spouse is not someone you compete with; they complete you.
Dave: When you start to understand they’re uniquely designed by God differently, on purpose, and together you can complete one another and reflect the image of God to the world, that’s a beautiful thing; and that you need each other because you lack what the other can bring.
Bob: I remember one of the other kind of “Aha” principles related to men and women. This was back before Emerson Eggerichs had written the book, Love and Respect—big book/big principle—I don’t know that I fully understood it. I think I first got this from reading Robert Lewis’s book, Rocking the Roles, before we interviewed him; but then, when we had Shaunti Feldhahn on, and she had done research on this idea that men care more about respect than they do about love; women care more about love than they do about respect. I’m sitting there, going, “That’s so true!” Here’s how she said it; listen to this.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Shaunti: I was really surprised on my survey when three out of four men said, if they had to make a choice—which they wouldn’t want to have to make—but if they had to, they’d actually choose to give up feeling that their wife loved them if they could just feel that she respected them, and that she believed in them, and trusted them, and admired and appreciated them. All those things are more important, it turns out, to the average man, even than feeling that his wife loves him.
That was a huge shocker to me, but it makes sense. If you’re dealing with this sense of: “Do I measure up?” “Do I know what I’m doing?” then you’re going to be so touched by the feeling that this person respects you. I was shocked to find out that the most painful feeling for a guy is feeling inadequate, and anything that hits that—you know, “I think you are inadequate,”—for a guy, that’s his version of feeling unloved.
Bob: Is it different—I presume it’s different—a woman would say three out of four times, “I’d rather be loved than respected”?
Shaunti: Yes; it’s usually flipped. Actually, the numbers are higher, usually, on the woman’s side. Nobody wants either of these feelings; obviously. [Laughter]
Bob: Sure; right.
Shaunti: But if you had to—most women are like, “You know what? I will feel inadequate, just don’t make me feel unloved,”—that, to them, is what they would give up.
Bob: I’m flashing back to that conversation and thinking/I’m just nodding my head, going, “That’s so true!”
Dave: You know what’s really crazy?—is a friend of Ann’s heard that broadcast on FamilyLife Today. She bought Shaunti’s book, For Women Only.
Ann: It was my friend, and she sent it to me to read; because she said, “This is unbelievable.”
Dave: Yes; and all I know is I walk in the kitchen; and there it is, lying there. Ann hadn’t read it yet; she said, “Yes, Michelle told me I should read this. She heard Shaunti, the author, on FamilyLife Today.” I look at it; and it says For Women Only; you know, understanding the inner lives of your men.
Bob: So you go, “I’m reading this!”
Dave: I did! [Laughter] I’m not kidding; Ann hadn’t even read it. I’m like, “What does she [the author] know? How/is this something that she really understands about men?” I picked it up; I didn’t know Shaunti at the time. I see all this research; and I mean, I devoured that book in like a day; it’s pretty short. I’m like, “Honey, read this book! Read it now! This is exactly who I am!”
Ann: —which made me not want to read it. [Laughter] But it is true that Dave and I were really struggling at the time, and this was why we were struggling. Dave felt like I wasn’t respecting him.
We’ve told Shaunti—
Dave: —and I wasn’t loving her.
Ann: —we told Shaunti many times that this topic really put us on a new path/a new healthy path.
Bob: Well, Mary Ann bought copies of this book and gave it as wedding gifts every time somebody was getting married; because when you can understand that—deep inside, a man wants to know he is affirmed, and appreciated, and admired, and respected; you don’t have to love us, just admire us—[Laughter]—for a woman, it’s the opposite; she wants to be loved and know that she is cherished. Boy, that was just a major paradigm shift.
Now, moving from that—this was actually even before Shaunti was here—we did a series, early, on FamilyLife Today on romance with Dennis and Barbara Rainey. This was before they wrote the book, Rekindling the Romance. We were just exploring the romantic relationship between a husband and a wife. Barbara made an observation about women and romance that was, again, one of those things that stopped me; I went, “Okay; I never thought about it that way.” Here’s what she said.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Barbara: The things that are romantic to me aren’t necessarily a situation, or an act, or a thing, or a gift—all of those things communicate romance—it is the relationship that she has with her husband. I am married to a man who has absolutely been a savior to me because of the love and the acceptance and all that kind of stuff, and I have been attracted to him, because I’m realizing what he’s done for me relationally. It’s not like he thought, “I want to romance my wife, so I’m going to go buy her flowers;”—“A” plus “B” equals “C,”—“and this is the reaction and response I’m going to get.”
Although I think that’s very romantic, and I love it when he does those kinds of things—because that communicates sacrifice; it communicates he cares about me; he’s willing to go out of his way; he’s willing to spend money that we may or may not have in the budget for that—those are all things that are very meaningful; because it speaks to a woman that she is special; she’s unique; she’s different from the average. I mean, it sends all kinds of messages that are very positive.
But it may not necessarily produce the desired response. In other words, if he’s doing it to produce a response, he is very often going to be disappointed. That’s why I go back to the relationship. To me, it’s the relationship that is, ultimately, going to fuel the romance. I think women don’t want to feel like they’re that easy to figure out and, “Oh, he’s got me pegged—and ‘A’ plus ‘B’ equals ‘C,’—and it’s going to always work that way.” I think she wants to be more complex, and more intriguing, and more—
Dennis: —of a challenge.
Barbara: Yes! And I think she would also begin to fear that she’d be taken advantage of. I don’t mean taken advantage of, sexually; I mean being taken advantage of in any way/assuming on the relationship; and therefore, there’s no more motivation to continue to pursue; there’s no more motivation to make the relationship unique; because, if he has it figured out, then why work at it?
Bob: Here’s what I remember about that conversation with Dennis and Barbara. I just remember thinking, “It would be so nice if/I mean, I want to express to Mary Ann how special she is. I would like to have something, where I know, ‘If I do this, you’re going to feel the value, and the warmth, and the appreciation.’” Some days, she does; and some days the same thing doesn’t work.
Ann: Bob, you want the formula.
Bob: It’s so maddening!
Dave: Every guy does!
Bob: That’s right!
Dave: It’s like: “I did this yesterday, and it produced this; why is that not happening today?”
Ann: Yes; I’m thinking, “Why is he doing it again today? [Laughter] Doesn’t he know I feel different today?” [Laughter] It’s so different—and I get it for you guys—that would be so frustrating, because you guys kind of do have a formula. [Laughter] Maybe it’s easier for us, as women.
Dave: But is it true what Barbara was saying?—you just want to be pursued.
Ann: We want to be pursued.
Bob: I think there’s a fear of being manipulated.
Ann: “Oh, you’re just doing the steps so that you get this.”
Bob: “I know what this is all about.” Yes; I mean, it was a good “Aha” for me.
When it came to guys—understanding who I was as a man—when I first read Robert Lewis’s definition of manhood—in fact, we’ll play this; we’ll play Robert explaining this, because this is so helpful to me—and then I’ll share a story/a text I got from one of my daughters recently. Here’s Robert Lewis talking about: “What Is a Real Man.”
Robert: I began to dig and look at the life of Adam and look at the life of Jesus Christ. I began to press those two lives together, closer and closer; and what came out of that comparison were four distinguishing differences between the first Adam and the second.
The first component that came out was that: “A real man rejects passivity”; because the first Adam collapsed like a black hole into passivity and abrogated his leadership in the garden. On the other hand, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, was—not only not passive—He was not passive, even in His pre-incarnate state. He looked at humanity; and when the Father said, “Look at this fallen world,” He was up on his feet, saying, “I’ll go.”
The second distinguishing characteristic is that: “A real man accepts responsibility.” You know, the first Adam rejected responsibility in three key areas: he rejected the will of God to obey, the work God wanted him to do, and the woman God wanted him to love. The second Adam did just the opposite: He accepted responsibility—He said, “I have come to do Thy will, O God,”—He came to do the work of God, even when it meant His own execution. The last thing Jesus Christ did: He loved His woman; and His woman was His bride, the Church.
Third: “A real man leads courageously.” He gives protection; he gives direction; and he makes provision. Adam didn’t make provision for Eve; he didn’t give her direction when she was standing there, interacting with the serpent; and he certainly didn’t protect her. Yet, you know what a real man does?—He does what Jesus Christ did: He started out, giving direction. What were His opening words?—“Follow Me.” He said, “I lay down My life for the sheep,”—He was one who gave protection. He gave provision; He says, “I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.”
The last thing that summarizes real masculinity/this definition is: “A real man expects God’s greater reward.” Jesus Christ said, “It was for the joy set before Me that I endured the cross.” We’re all looking for the reward; it’s just, where is the reward? The reward, I believe, that the second Adam tells us: it’s in the things of God—it’s in His calling/His kingdom—and when we pursue that, what we find is that life becomes sweeter and sweeter. On the other hand, the conventional manhood gets more and more bitter.
Bob: Listening back, as Robert Lewis talks about his definition of manhood, all three of my boys—we could call them right now—they could give you all four of those points; they know them.
Dave: So could mine.
Bob: One of our daughters sent me a text recently; and she said, “Dad, I was on the phone with a friend of mine, talking about challenges in her marriage. I said, ‘He needs to reject passivity and accept responsibility.’ And my friend said, ‘That’s gold! Where did you hear that? Where did you learn that?’” She just laughed, because it’s been part of the environment she grew up in.
Dave: She said, “I heard it from Bob Lepine!” [Laughter] There you go.
Bob: She knows exactly where I heard it from; because for a man to understand, “My natural gravitational pull is toward passivity/that’s what I’m going to default to, and I need to step out of that, and I need to step into taking responsibility,”—or as Dennis Rainey would say—“I need to step up into manhood.”
In fact, the last two things related to understanding manhood really come from Dennis and his work in the book, Stepping Up. The first thing was he said most men he meets today are straddling the step between boyhood and manhood. They have one foot in boyhood—they keep getting pulled back to wanting just to be a boy, which means no responsibility: “Just do what you want,” “Do what you feel,”—manhood, which is where you accept responsibility. He said it’s the battle that’s going on every day. Here’s how he said it.
[Previous FamilyLife TodayBroadcast]
Dennis: I believe our churches and our ministries are full of young men, who are just like I was. They are young men, who have one foot on adolescence and one foot on manhood. They have not turned from the lust, the selfishness, the passivity, the rebellion of the teenage years to become what God called them to be.
When I was sharing this material, a guy who runs Asher Auto Salvage—his name’s Pod Buoy—Pod came to me and he said, “Two times this week, Dennis, I stepped up from being a teenager to being a man.” He said, “Can you believe it? I’m 63 years old, and I’m still struggling with being an adolescent.” And he grinned.
But did you hear what he had to say? “Two times this week I stepped away from being a teenager—from being childishness/from being immature—and I stepped up to being a man.” That imagery helped him assume responsibility and become God’s man for what he was doing.
Bob: It’s fun listening back to that and listening to Dennis talk about stepping up.
Ann: Oh, yes.
Bob: I have to tell you—every guy can relate to that battle, day in and day out—right?
Dave: Yes, whether you’re 16 or 63.
Dave: Listening to Dennis’s voice is/he shaped my life with that content. It really helped me become the most amazing man in the—
Ann: You are the most amazing man. [Laughter]
Dave: —no, it really did help me become a man; because I didn’t know. Dennis—in many ways for me, and I’m sure thousands of others—was a father figure.
Bob: Well, and for me, too. It’s part of the legacy of 28 years here, doing what I’ve been doing. His book, Stepping Up, the video series we produced: God used all of that in my own life to help me understand what I’m supposed to be as a man.
Bob: There’s a last point—we won’t play a clip of this—but Dennis, in the book, he said you get to the manhood step—he said there are five steps: there’s childhood; there’s boyhood; then there’s adolescence; then there’s manhood—and most guys get to manhood and go, “I’m here. That’s where I’m supposed to be.”
He said, “No, there are two steps beyond that.” He gave me a vision for my life that goes beyond just stepping up and being a man. He said the next step is to be a mentor and to spread that to other men, and then the last step is to be a patriarch. He said that’s a dirty word in our culture; but a patriarch, in a biblical sense, is somebody who takes responsibility for the community/somebody, who looks and says, “I am not just a man in my home; I’m a man in my community. I’m here to help shape what this culture is supposed to do and be,”—and to step into that and say—“It’s broader than just my wife and my kids. I don’t neglect them, but to be a patriarch…”
You can’t be a patriarch at 22; you can’t be a patriarch at 42. You have to kind of grow into that, to where people turn and look to you and say, “Where should we go?” And you say, “I know where to go, because I’ve been in the Scriptures; I know the Lord; and I’ve lived enough life that I can point us in God’s direction here.”
Dave: You are a patriarch, Bob; and you have been for 28 years on this show.
Ann: Yes, you really are.
Dave: You’ve been a father to many, many people.
Ann: You’ve led so many of us—you and Dennis.
Bob: It’s been a long process. I don’t know that we can say I’ve been that for 28 years; but along the way, maybe I’ve stepped into some of that.
You know what?—so have so many of our listeners. The letters we’ve gotten from people over the years/the men and women, who have said, “These kinds of conversations have helped me recognize my own shortcomings, where I need to grow, what I need to aspire to, how I can step up as a husband,” “…as a wife,” “…as a mom,” “…a dad.” It’s one of the reasons it’s been such a privilege to be a part of what God has done through the work of FamilyLife Today over the last 28 years.
I imagine some of our listeners would benefit from having these conversations we’re having this week, just have them as a reference, to be able to go back and remind themselves of some of these core principles. We’ve put these conversations on a flash drive that we’re making available to you when you make a donation to support the ongoing work of FamilyLife Today. The flash drive is our thank-you gift to you.
By the way, this is a critical week for us. We’re hoping that many of you will make a donation this month. We’ve had some friends of the ministry, who have agreed to match every donation we receive this month, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $350,000. We’re not there yet. To get there, we need you to go online or to call and make a donation. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate. Along with the flash drive, as a thank-you gift, we’ll send you a couple of books by Aaron and Jamie Ivey—a book for husbands and a book for wives about marriage—the books are called Complement.
If you decide this week that you’d like to join the team of people, who really provide the financial foundation for this ministry—who make it possible, month in and month out, our monthly Legacy Partners—when you sign on this week as a new Legacy Partner, we’re going to do two things. First of all, each donation you make during the course of the next year will be matched, dollar for dollar. As long as there are funds in the matching-gift fund, your donations get doubled. And we’ll send you a certificate so you and your spouse can attend an upcoming Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. The certificate is transferrable; if you want to give it as a gift to someone, you can do that. That’s for our new monthly Legacy Partners. When you join us, and agree to make a monthly donation, we’ll send you that gift card for the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, along with the flash drive and the books from the Iveys.
There’s a lot there; you can find out more when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY. I hope many of you listening today will make an investment in the ongoing ministry of FamilyLife Today in what God has planned for the future. I hope you’ll go to FamilyLifeToday.com and be as generous as you can be.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to look back at some of the most significant things I learned in 26 years, co-hosting this program with Dennis Rainey. He left a tremendous mark on my life; so tomorrow, lessons from Dennis. That’s what we’ll focus in on. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch; got some extra help this week from Bruce Goff and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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